In Production

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

Earlier this week, a rumor began floating around that Bob Peterson, director of Up, would no longer be directing Pixar’s latest (and thankfully, non-sequel) feature, The Good Dinosaur. Well, it turns out the rumors are true – Peterson is off the project. Pixar’s president, Ed Catmull, offered a few words of explanation on the sudden change: “All directors get really deep in their films. Sometimes you just need a different perspective to get the idea out. Sometimes directors … are so deeply embedded in their ideas it actually takes someone else to finish it up. I would go so far as to argue that a lot of live-action films would be better off with that same process.” That description of Peterson as so “deep in [his] film” that “a different perspective” was needed almost makes him sound a little unhinged. Like he chased the rabbit too far down the Good Dinosaur hole and had spent the last several months locked in a supply closet, constructing a crude time machine to get a more accurate representation of what dinosaurs really looked like. But apparently Peterson still has some degree of sanity, as this move isn’t a firing – Peterson will still remain with the studio.

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Paramount announced today that principal photography is officially underway in Canada for Christopher Nolan‘s galactic voyager movie Interstellar. The film, based on a combination of an original idea by Nolan and an existing script by Jonathan Nolan, follows a group of intrepid explorers who use a wormhole to bend the limits of human travel and experience a radical space journey. On this fantastic voyage? Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine, among others. Nolan is re-teaming with his usuals: production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Lee Smith, and composer Hans Zimmer for the film as well. Though not much is known about the film yet besides these little tidbits, it sounds like a fantastic sci-fi affair with the trappings for something of epic proportions. Can you just picture Michael Caine hurtling through a wormhole set to a Hans Zimmer score? Because I’m definitely imagining that right now, and it’s the best movie of the year. Interesting to note: renowned physicist Kip Thorne is consulting on the film, as well as serving as executive producer, so this wormhole journey might actually be pretty factual. Interstellar is in theaters November 7, 2014.

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Finding Nemo 3D

Well, I guess it’s really true that Dory the fish really does speak whale, because an insider at Pixar has revealed that the animation studio has decided to alter the ending to the script for 2015’s Finding Dory after viewing the documentary Blackfish. Blackfish focuses on the plight of orca whales kept in captivity, and skewers SeaWorld for keeping the majestic sea creatures in bathtub-like habitats. Though the overall plot line of Finding Dory, starring the voice talents of Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks, is still for the most part a mystery, early reports stated that the ending had the characters wind up at a marine park, happy as can be. Naturally, with the Blackfish controversy and the ongoing publicity battle the real-life SeaWorld is currently waging, Pixar decided to do some recon and restructure the ending so that the characters do travel to the marine park, but like any totally normal situation that would definitely happen, they have the option of leaving and going back out to the ocean if they choose. When you wish upon a star, etc. Granted, Pixar movie scripts change all the time while in production; this is nothing new. But in this case, the studio is making alterations in direct response to the documentary’s message – good for director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and writer Eli B. Despres.

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Fear of Flying

Author Erica Jong‘s seminal 1973 novel “Fear of Flying” is still considered a groundbreaking piece of erotic fiction, helped herald in the second wave of feminism, and remains one of the top fifty bestselling novels of all time, but it’s also managed to go four decades without a big screen adaptation. That’s now set to finally change, as director Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby) has been set to direct a feature film based on the work, complete with a script by Piers Ashworth (Burke and Hare, St. Trinians).  Jong’s novel centers on poet Isadora Wing who, during a trip to Vienna with her second husband, comes to grips with her unfulfilling marriage and decides to embark on a series of highly sexual encounters with other men. If you’ve ever heard the term “zipless fuck,” you’ve got Jong and her book to thank for it, as she coined the term (which basically refers to a sexual encounter without personal or emotional attachments, and one that even Isadora finds impossible to have). Oh, yes, it’s raunchy, but unlike something like “Fifty Shades of Grey,” it’s an enduring piece of cultural literature that is still relevant today. Also, its leading lady role could be one hell of a starmaker. Collyer’s Sunlight Jr. recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, so check out Caitlin’s review of the film to get a sense of her work. [Deadline Hollywood]

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Lynne Ramsay

As pre-production chatter for the Brian Duffield-penned Black Listed Western Jane Got a Gun has been nothing but positive (especially when it comes to the film’s very talented cast), today’s news that director Lynne Ramsay has exited the project in spectacular fashion is nothing short of genuinely shocking and quite confusing. Deadline Hollywood reports (via The Playlist) that the film’s cast and crew (including stars Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Jude Law, and Rodrigo Santoro) showed up on Monday (the project’s official first day of production) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, only to find that Ramsay “was a no-show and had abruptly dropped out of the film.” Producer Scott Steindorff “confirmed the crisis” and weighed in to Deadline in a passionate plea, saying, “I have millions of dollars invested, we’re ready to shoot, we have a great script, crew and cast…I’m shocked and so disappointed someone would do this to 150 crew members who devoted so much time, energy, commitment and loyalty to a project, and then have the director not show up. It is insane somebody would do this to other people. I feel more for the crew and their families, but we are keeping the show going on, directors are flying in, and a replacement is imminent.”

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The Hangover Hits the Road

As the vast majority of criticisms that were lobbed at Todd Phillips‘ The Hangover Part II derided the director for essentially remaking his own first film (this time, set in Thailand), it’s comforting that the third film in the franchise will move away from the structure of its predecessors. We’ve long had suspicions about where The Hangover Part III will go, and now the currently-filming production’s first official logline confirms – the Wolfpack is going on the road. Warner Bros. has just revealed (via ComingSoon) the official plot description for the film, which simply tells us: “This time, there’s no wedding. No bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? But when the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.” Points to WB for knowing exactly what we want to hear (if this description had included any words like “baby shower” or “vow renewal,” I would have eaten my hat).

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These days you can’t chuck a cat without hitting a piece of gossip about actress Katie Holmes’ personal life, but all of that domestic drama doesn’t mean that she’s going to be taking a step back from her career or shying away from life in the public eye. Quite the opposite really, in the wake of a recent divorce she seems to be redoubling her efforts in the movie business and doing whatever she can to kick-start the second phase of her career. To that end she has co-wrote, is co-producing, and will star in a new movie called Molly, the particulars of which could be earning it quite a bit of coverage in the mainstream media sometime soon. Molly, which People Magazine says is set to begin production in New York City next week, details the life of a single mother who has to deal with the hectic schedule of raising a daughter on her own. While this is a simple story that would have seemed innocuous enough a couple of weeks ago, given the fact that Holmes is currently divorcing her husband, Tom Cruise, and seeking custody of their young daughter, soon it will very likely be a case of life imitating art.

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Richard Linklater has been tight-lipped about the possibility of there being a third installment in his Julie Delpy-and-Ethan Hawke-walking-around-a-city-and-talking series of films that so far include 1995’s Before Sunrise and 2004’s Before Sunset. But, unfortunately for him, one of his stars and collaborators can’t stop spilling the beans everywhere he goes, that star being Ethan Hawke. The last time Hawke was talking about the potential project, he remarked, “I don’t know what we’re going to do but I know the three of us have been talking a lot in the last six months. All three of us have been having similar feelings that we’re ready to revisit those characters. There’s nine years between the first two movies and, if we made the film next summer, it would be nine years again, so we’ve really started thinking that would be a good thing to do. We’re going to try write it this year.” Well, it seems like the writing went well, because in an interview with IndieWire that was supposed to be about his upcoming project The Woman in the Fifth, talk turned to the new Before Whatever project again, and Hawke confirmed that the third film was indeed on its way. Of his future collaborations with Linklater (which also include a still-untitled series of short films) Hawke said, “we’re also doing a follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, so that will be fun. We’re going to shoot that this summer.”

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Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have just announced that production has kicked off on their inevitable “live-action/computer animated hybrid 3Dfamily comedy” sequel to last year’s smash hit, The Smurfs. The Smurfs 2 brings back all of the cast from the first film, including Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow, Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow, Sofia Vergara as Odile, Hank Azaria as Gargamel, Katy Perry as Smurfette, Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Alan Cumming as Gutsy, Fred Armisen as Brainy, George Lopez as Grouchy, and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy. Director Raja Gosnell is also back behind the camera. Screenwriters J. David Stem, David N. Weiss, Jay Scherick, and David Ronn are also returning, along with a newcomer to the Smurfs franchise, Karey Kirkpatrick (James and the Giant Peach, Chicken Run, Charlotte’s Web), proving that it takes five screenwriters to write something this unoriginal. The film will have some new faces, however, both on the human and the blue side. Brendan Gleeson joins the cast as Patrick ‘s stepfather, along with Christina Ricci and JB Smoove, who will voice “new Smurf-like naughty characters,” Vexy and Hackus. Uh oh, just “Smurf-like“?

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Fans of writer Matthew F. Jones have a lot to celebrate. His novel “A Single Shot” is about to be turned into a big screen thriller, and the names attached are enough to make even the most hardened film cynic squeal with glee. Deadline Charlottesville reports that production has now begun on the adaptation, which is under the direction of David M. Rosenthal (Janie Jones) and stars a cast that includes names like Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, Joe Anderson, Jason Isaacs, Kelly Riley, Ophelia Lovibond, and Melissa Leo. Jeez, Mr. Rosenthal, you had me at Sam Rockwell. But for those not sold just at the sight of all those talented names listed together, take a look at the Amazon plot synopsis of Jones’s novel:

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Just a little over a year ago it was announced that director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio planned on teaming up for a fifth time in order to make a movie called The Wolf of Wall Street. These guys always keep themselves busy though, and the script for the film was still being adapted from the memoirs of former day trader Jordan Belfort, so it wasn’t really clear when it would go in front of the camera, if ever.

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Unless you happen to be from Chile, you might not have ever heard of director Nicolas Lopez. But chances are you soon will. After creating the top grossing Chilean films in both 2010 and 2011 with Que Pena Tu Vida and Que Pena Tu Boda, the director is next moving on to helm Aftershock, the newest film from Eli Roth. This one is a disaster movie that Roth and Lopez wrote together, and that Roth will be starring in. Apparently the idea for the film came to Lopez after his country was hit with a pretty bad earthquake back in 2010, but it’s got some of Roth’s horror sensibility in there as well. The story is largely about dangerous patients that escape an insane asylum after the quake. If horror fans have any sort of issue with getting some Lopez mixed in with their Roth, then maybe this awesome quote from the director will assuage your fears: “I was a fan of Cabin Fever and Hostel, and I love that we’re mixing our sensibility. People will be shocked when they see this movie. It’s nothing that you could expect. I want this to be my Robocop.” Anybody who doesn’t think their career is complete until they’ve made their Robocop is okay with me. Roth thinks he’s pretty okay too. When talking about his collaborator he said, “He has the incredible combination of commercial sensibility with an artistic eye, and what he has done here in Chile with their film industry […]

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Let it never be said that director Tom Hooper doesn’t make some interesting choices when it comes to filming his projects for maximum veracity. His Oscar-winning hit The King’s Speech was shot on a former porno set (grit!), he used Colonial Williamsburg for a number of sets for his John Adams (gritty, in a different way!), and now it looks like he’s going full-hilt on his first musical feature. Hooper’s next film is a full-scale musical feature version of the done-to-starving-death Les Miserables, and while a new take on Victor Hugo’s classic material doesn’t strike most people as necessary, Hooper is going to give the project its own spin to liven it up. No, no, he’s not going to make it some sort of bizarre “reimagining,” he’s going to make its stars actually sing. No, no, it’s much more interesting than that – he’s going to make them sing live. A “source close to the production” has told the Sun UK that “the director is determined to make the project as authentic as possible.” As such, “the cast will record their vocals live on camera rather than go into a studio first then mime on film to the pre-recorded vocal…First they have to learn the complex songs, then they’ll have to get it right on set in front of the other stars and crew.” This does provide a look inside Hooper’s vision for the film, which may be much more classically theatrical than first suspected. Hooper has already lined up […]

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Back in August, Justin Lin vacated the director’s chair for the latest in Hollywood’s seemingly endless string of remakes – jumping off Highlander to spend more time making Vin Diesel and Paul Walker jump off moving trains on to moving cars (or similar) with his next entry into his wildly successful spin on The Fast and the Furious franchise. Summit Entertainment has now announced that Juan Carlos Fresnadillo will take on directorial duties for their Highlander reboot/magination/whatever, so let’s all pause to yell “there can only be one!” and move on with the news. Fresnadillo will direct from Melissa Rosenberg’s script, with the film poised to start filming in the spring of 2012. Summit’s official press release gives a quick plotline for the new film – “In HIGHLANDER, after centuries of dueling to survive against others like him, Connor MacLeod, an immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his kind, a murderously brutal barbarian, who lusts for the Prize” – so, yes, rest easy, this is definitely a Highlander film.

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How news of remakes continues to shock me, I’ll never know. There’s been buzz about a Point Break remake for a while now, but Warner Bros. and Alcon Entertainment have finally decided to just get totally radical and announce their planned remake of the 1991 Kathryn Bigelow  film that remains a cinematic classic for surfers, stoners, Angelenos, adrenaline junkies, idiots, and Keanu Reeves fan everywhere (hey, back up, I count myself as one of those idiots). Alcon snatched up the rights for the film on the eve of its twentieth anniversary, with co-founders and co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove set to produce the new project, along with Michael DeLuca, John Baldecchi, Chris Taylor, and Kurt Wimmer. As previously rumored, Wimmer penned the screenplay for the remake (hat tip to our pals over Twitch for reporting on this way back in June). The film is without a director as of yet, but it’s being “fast tracked” with a helmer search launching soon. The new Point Break will, in both completely inexplicable and totally expected news, not necessarily take place in the world of surfing, but “in the world of international extreme sports.” What, like street luge? Parkour? Say it’s parkour, please say it’s parkour. But the remake will still focus on “an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a criminal ring.” That’s all we’ve got for now. Wait, isn’t that The Fast and the Furious? Just tell me said FBI agent has a Johnny Utah-esque name, and all will be forgiven. Frankie New […]

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Shooting in downtown Chicago for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman movie Man of Steel will begin on Wednesday, and local rag Chicago Business has scoops on some of the locations that will be used and what they will be doubling as. More specifically, while they’re not sure of the locations of any street shots, they know what building Snyder plans to use as the headquarters of Metropolis’ number one newspaper The Daily Planet. Apparently Chicago’s Board of Trade building will serve as the Planet building exteriors (with digitally inserted globe atop, I’m sure) and the interiors of the newspaper office will be filmed inside of the Wesley Willis Memorial Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower). These choices make a lot of sense, because the Board of Trade is a big imposing building that looks nice standing at the end of a street, and the Willis Tower is huge, so there’s probably plenty of room inside to be converted into movie sets. Eagle eyed Chicago enthusiasts or great big super hero nerds might have noticed that there’s a sweet little bit of trivia created by Snyder’s choice though. The Board of Trade looks so good as a big imposing building that it was also used as the headquarters for Wayne Enterprises in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. Using the same building twice for two big superhero movies shouldn’t be a big deal; you slap a big W on it the first time, you put a big globe on it the second time, […]

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Daniel Craig and the James Bond 23 crew are hoping to film a big train stunt in India come this February, but they’ve hit a stumbling block in the form of some red tape being put in front of them by Indian Railways. You see, how the scene was originally written in the script, Bond would have been jumping a motorcycle onto the top of a moving train, scattering a group of people who were riding illegally on the train’s roof, and then jumping to another car that was equally packed with freeloaders. Indian Railways has a problem with this, because they don’t want rooftop train riding encouraged, and they don’t want India being portrayed as having a problem with rooftop train travel. When talking to Agence France-Presse, Indian Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi was pretty straightforward about the matter, “Rooftop travel is illegal in India and it cannot be encouraged.” He also argued, “There are many trains in India and not all trains have people traveling on the rooftops.” Of course, taking the people off of the roof isn’t a big deal, and director Sam Mendes and crew have already agreed to film the scene with a clear roof instead; but might this not be the end of the problems the film will face trying to shoot in India? Shooting is scheduled to take place starting in February and lasting through March in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Goa, and they’ve already let officials change one of their scenes. Now that they’ve […]

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Writer/Director James Gunn has done many things. Most recently, he’s become a beloved Twitter celebrity and delivered the uber-popular web series PG Porn. But beyond that, he makes movies.

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danny-huston

Danny Huston is joining the cast of the upcoming Ridley Scott film Robin Hood, which is currently shooting in England.

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brolin-hex-1

FSR reader Christopher M. sent us over a tip early this morning about some new photos from the set of Jonah Hex. And no, they weren’t of Megan Fox in her wild west hooker costume. This time we actually get to see Josh Brolin as the film’s title character.

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